The Red Sox come back with five runs
off Mariano Rivera in a 7-6 win

HIDEKI OKAJIMA

ON THIS DATE (April 20, 2007) ... The Red Sox got to closer Mariano Rivera, in stunning fashion, scoring five runs in the bottom of the eighth to overcome a four-run deficit, then held their collective breath while watching Hideki Okajima, the stand-in for closer Jonathan Papelbon, solve A-Rod and save a 7-6 win before a delirious crowd of 36,786 in Fenway Park.

Terry Francona's first inclination was to send pitching coach John Farrell to the mound, armed with written instructions translated by assistant trainer Masai Takahashi, on how to keep Alex Rodriguez from adding to his epic home run tear.

Moments later, after Okajima had retired A-Rod on a full-count, soft liner to second and struck out Kevin Thompson, who had run for strongman Jason Giambi in the eighth when the Yankees seemingly had the game in hand, Francona was out of the dugout.

A rally that began with David Ortiz's double off former Sox lefthander Mike Myers to open the eighth ended with three straight run-scoring hits off Rivera from the bottom of the Sox' order, the supposed black hole of their lineup. Jason Varitek's RBI single, which followed Mike Lowell's RBI base hit off Luis Vizcaino, made it 6-4. Coco Crisp then scorched a ground ball down the right-field line into the corner for a triple, tying the score, and came home on Alex Cora's flare over a drawn-in infield.

The Sox, of course, have had more success against Rivera, who will be going to the Hall of Fame, than any other team. No one who was there, including Rivera, will soon forget the standing ovation Sox fans gave the Yankee closer in the 2005 home opener, when the Sox received their World Series rings and Rivera was reminded that the Sox had gotten to him in two epic games in the ALCS. Since the start of the 2003 season, Rivera has blown 9 of 29 save opportunities against the Sox.

The winning hit was Cora's second in two games. He tripled home the go-ahead run Thursday in Toronto. He laughed uproariously when asked if he'd done that before.



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F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

NEW YORK YANKEES

0

0

1

1

3

0

0

1

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6

11

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BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

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2

0

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7

13

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W-Kyle Snyder (1-0)
S-Hideki Okajima (1)
L-Mariano Rivera (1-2)
Attendance - 36,786

 2B-Posada (NY), Rodriguez (NY), Ortiz (Bost)

 3B-Crisp (Bost)

 HR-Rodriguez (2)(NY), Varitek (Bost)